Friday Food and Drink Post: The Beer Necessities

 

I’m an ale girl myself. With special attention paid to Arrogant Bastard from Stone Brewing Company on the West coast. I discovered this glorious beverage in, of all places, Washington PA, at Roland’s Trattoria, a small family restaurant run by our dear friends and neighbors Roland and Cheryl, and increasingly by their “beer snob” son Vince, God bless him. (Pro tip: Roland’s fried zucchini appetizer cannot be beat. Cheryl’s Italian Cream Pie, with cherries, ain’t bad, either.) But I digress. Back to the beer. Just as much as I love the beer, and the name, I love the motto printed on the front of every bottle–“YOU’RE NOT WORTHY”– and the patter that goes with it, printed on the back:

This is an aggressive beer. You probably won’t like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth. We would suggest that you stick to safer and more familiar territory—maybe something with a multimillion-dollar ad campaign aimed at convincing you it’s made in a little brewery, or one that implies that their tasteless fizzy yellow beer will give you more sex appeal. Perhaps you think multimillion-dollar ad campaigns make a beer taste better. Perhaps you’re mouthing your words as you read this.

We believe that pandering to the lowest common denominator represents the height of tyranny—a virtual form of keeping the consumer barefoot and stupid. Brought forth upon an unsuspecting public in 1997, Arrogant Bastard Ale openly challenged the tyrannical overlords who were brazenly attempting to keep Americans chained in the shackles of poor taste. Since the very beginning, Arrogant Bastard Ale has reveled in its unprecedented and uncompromising celebration of intensity. There have been many nods to Arrogant Bastard Ale–even outright attempts to copy it–but only one can ever embody the true nature of Liquid Arrogance!

I’ll never forget my first time. Mr. She and I were enjoying dinner at Roland’s, and Brittany (Vince’s soon-to-be wife, and, not long ago, the mother of his first son, because Roland’s is the sort of place where family comes first) did the rundown of the beers on tap and asked me what I’d like to drink. I said, “I’ll have an Arrogant Bastard, please.” Mr. She, without missing a beat, piped up and said, “I thought there was room for only one arrogant bastard in your life.”

No, there’s always room for another. Why stop at two, after all?

What sort of beer floats your boat?

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  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    She:

    What sort of beer floats your boat? 

    The next one.

    • #1
  2. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    I’m not fond of the more bitter ales, especially not IPAs (I’ve tried AB, did not care for it).  I prefer something mellower like Newcastle and other brown ales, but I really go for a porter or a stout.  I’m very fond of German beers too, especially Kolsch in warmer weather, or heffeweiße beers.  The overabundance of IPAs is moreover an annoyance, especially when I’ve been in some places where they dominate the menu to the exclusion of much of anything else (I had a bartender thank me once for not ordering an IPA).

    • #2
  3. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    I’m a big fan of Fat Heads Head Hunter IPA. I’ve not found one better.

    http://fatheads.com/phone/year-round.html

     

    • #3
  4. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    I vaguely remember drinking too many Arrogant Bastards at my friend Don’s house.   He was my first homebrewing mentor, and he had a keg on tap.  I was there to learn how to brew, he had offered that I could be his apprentice for a few sessions.  That was about 10 years ago.  The memories are vague, because Arrogant Bastard can quickly sneak up on you at 7.2%ABV. 

    Since then, I have become a fairly prolific homebrewer, a certified beer judge, and even won a few medals in assorted competitions.  For the record, winning medals is fairly easy in the local and regional competitions. You just have to not suck, and you have approximately 25% chance of winning with each entry.  The annual National Competition is another matter. 

    My favorites are Belgian styles in general,  with a special emphasis on sours. These are marvelous, unusual beers.  The first time I tried one, I nearly spit it out.  Over time, I came to appreciate the wild beers. Of the traditional sours, Flemish reds are my favorite.  Of this style, one of the most traditionally acclaimed is Rodenbach Grand Cru.  More subtle styles of sours can be found in Saisons (not always sour) and Oud Bruins. 

    We have a local brewery called Strange Roots in Pittsburgh that specializes is wild beers.  Almost everything they make is quite awesome. http://www.strangerootsbeer.com/  

    At home, I currently have the following homebrews on tap: A Belgian wit, A Belgian Dark Strong, a Robust Porter. And an apple cider from locally harvested road apples, hand crushed and pressed. I also keep sparkling water on tap – always. That is the only beverage I make that the Lovely Lady Gesa drinks.  We go thru 5 g of wasser mit gas every four days or so.

    I also make pale ales, IPA’s and NEIPA’s for my friends’ consumption.  They like hops.  I am less fond of the big hoppy beers.  I have also made pumpkin beers, English bitters, nut browns, and lots of others.   My least favorite style of beer is a Barleywine.  

    If you want to learn more about beer style guidelines, here is a link: https://www.bjcp.org/docs/2015_Guidelines_Beer.pdf

    • #4
  5. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    I’m not fond of the more bitter ales, especially not IPAs (I’ve tried AB, did not care for it). I prefer something mellower like Newcastle and other brown ales, but I really go for a porter or a stout. I’m very fond of German beers too, especially Kolsch in warmer weather, or heffeweiße beers. The overabundance of IPAs is moreover an annoyance, especially when I’ve been in some places where they dominate the menu to the exclusion of much of anything else (I had a bartender thank me once for not ordering an IPA).

    The whole gamut of IPAs is really exploding now, with a range of tastes for almost every beer lover. I’m really into Dogfish Head’s Liquid Truth Serum IPA, even got my wife to admit she liked it, and she’s no big beer lover. It’s a great time to try ALL kinds of beers.

    Loved this line in the OP:

    or one that implies that their tasteless fizzy yellow beer will give you more sex appeal.

    • #5
  6. danok1 Member
    danok1
    @danok1

    The worst beer I ever had was wonderful.

    • #6
  7. JimGoneWild Coolidge
    JimGoneWild
    @JimGoneWild

    I just had a Scrimshaw Pilsner that was delicious. Depending on the season, weather and my thirst level, I like Pils, Lagers and Ambers — nothing hoppe. In the Fall, I love tucking into Oktoberfest and Marzen beers.

    Cheers.

    • #7
  8. Locke On Member
    Locke On
    @LockeOn

    Another home brewer here.  The current crop of bottles:

    Oatmeal Coffee Stout.  A month in bottle now, cracked a couple two nights ago and it’s just starting to get there.  This one was inspired by Oakshire’s Overcast Stout, but it’s our own thing.

    A few remaining bottles of last fall’s Raspberry Wheat Beer.  We have a red raspberry patch and put it to good use!  Still working towards the ideal balance of fruit and malt.

    Our third attempt at hard cider with our backyard apples.  The first two using a wine yeast were too dry for Mrs. Locke’s taste, so we went with a Wyeast Sweet Mead yeast this time.

    Currently perking away in the carboy is a smoked Scottish ale.  Started as a middle of the road kit recipe but it’s worked its way up to being nearly a Wee Heavy by now.

    Although as Idahoans, we’re nominally in the Pacific Northwest, we’re not enamored of the heavily hopped style prevailing here.  OTOH, we have started sneaking aroma hops into the stout and Scottish, which is definitely not the original style.  But then, we’re drinking it up, not entering contests.  And we dry hopped (Citra) one of our hard cider batches, and will probably be doing that again.

    As far as others’ brews, we are fortunate to have a local bar that keeps Irish Death on tap.

    • #8
  9. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    I’m not fond of the more bitter ales, especially not IPAs (I’ve tried AB, did not care for it). I prefer something mellower like Newcastle and other brown ales, but I really go for a porter or a stout. I’m very fond of German beers too, especially Kolsch in warmer weather, or heffeweiße beers. The overabundance of IPAs is moreover an annoyance, especially when I’ve been in some places where they dominate the menu to the exclusion of much of anything else (I had a bartender thank me once for not ordering an IPA).

    You and Mr. She have a lot in common on the beer front, although I’ll admit to liking the occasional heffeweiße myself.  He’s not able to imbibe much at all because of a medication he’s on, so please feel free to have one for him, sometime!

    Fascinating insights from the home brewers, @nohaaj and @lockeon.  Thanks. (If there is any more of that very dry hard cider that didn’t suit Mrs. Locke, please send it my way.)

    I don’t know a lot about beers, but I know what I like.  More hoppy, less malty.  I tend to think this is a throwback to the occasional pub-crawl with Dad through his constituency, on visits to the UK.   I gather that what some consider the “over-hopped” character of some of the IPAs was originally done to preserve them while they were shipped to the far-flung corners of the Empire in the days before refrigeration was widely available, as hops are a natural preservative.  Oddly, I have seen them growing wild around here (Western PA) a few times, and my old stomping grounds in the UK has been prime hop-growing country for centuries.  There is even a Hop Cheese!

    • #9
  10. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    My wife drinks IPAs from the bottle, never by the glass or mug.

    I drink Bud Light or Michelin Ultra in a frosty glass. I’m not sure I would drink beer if I couldn’t drink it from a frosty glass.

    My wife is obviously more macho than I am.  

    • #10
  11. JimGoneWild Coolidge
    JimGoneWild
    @JimGoneWild

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    My wife drinks IPAs from the bottle, never by the glass or mug.

    This is a shame. Pouring into a glass releases aromas and excess gas. It really does enhance the beer — just like it would for wine.

    • #11
  12. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    She (View Comment):
    Oddly, I have seen them growing wild around here (Western PA)

    We should have our own brewery crawl.  There are currently 21 more breweries scheduled to open in W PA this year.  

    It is my understanding that pre-prohibition,  WNY and WPA had significant hops horticulture. That would certainly explain seeing them in the wild.  They are extremely vigorous vines that are actually quite difficult to kill. I planted hops in the back a few years ago.  I use them mostly for decorations and props when I occasionally do brewing demonstrations or serve at local brew fests. 

    • #12
  13. Al French, sad sack Moderator
    Al French, sad sack
    @AlFrench

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    At home, I currently have the following homebrews on tap: A Belgian wit, A Belgian Dark Strong, a Robust Porter. And an apple cider from locally harvested road apples, hand crushed and pressed. I also keep sparkling water on tap – always. That is the only beverage I make that the Lovely Lady Gesa drinks. We go thru 5 g of wasser mit gas every four days or so.

    Road apples?

    My mother grew up in a time when horse drawn delivery carts were still common. “Road apples” were what horses left behind in the street. Her mother would send her out to collect them for garden fertilizer.

    I think I would have difficulty getting past that family history if someone offered me a beverage made of “road apples”.

    • #13
  14. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    My wife drinks IPAs from the bottle, never by the glass or mug.

    I drink Bud Light or Michelin Ultra in a frosty glass. I’m not sure I would drink beer if I couldn’t drink it from a frosty glass.

    My wife is obviously more macho than I am.

    Hers is an especially bounteous form of macho, as I understand it.  @kentforrester

    • #14
  15. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    Oddly, I have seen them growing wild around here (Western PA)

    We should have our own brewery crawl. There are currently 21 more breweries scheduled to open in W PA this year.

    It is my understanding that pre-prohibition, WNY and WPA had significant hops horticulture. That would certainly explain seeing them in the wild. They are extremely vigorous vines that are actually quite difficult to kill. I planted hops in the back a few years ago. I use them mostly for decorations and props when I occasionally do brewing demonstrations or serve at local brew fests.

    That explains it.  Live and learn.  Thanks.  Yes, little breweries are opening up all over the place around here.  Also, rye whiskey is being distilled again in Washington, right here in Whiskey Rebellion territory.  We have what’s become a pretty big-deal festival every year to celebrate.  In fact, folks round here are still a bit cranky and prone to insurrection.  It’s one of the things I like about the area.

    • #15
  16. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    Al French, sad sack (View Comment):

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    At home, I currently have the following homebrews on tap: A Belgian wit, A Belgian Dark Strong, a Robust Porter. And an apple cider from locally harvested road apples, hand crushed and pressed. I also keep sparkling water on tap – always. That is the only beverage I make that the Lovely Lady Gesa drinks. We go thru 5 g of wasser mit gas every four days or so.

    Road apples?

    My mother grew up in a time when horse drawn delivery carts were still common. “Road apples” were what horses left behind in the street. Her mother would send her out to collect them for garden fertilizer.

    I think I would have difficulty getting past that family history if someone offered me a beverage made of “road apples”.

    Yes, perhaps road apples is not the proper term! In our very small office, we have taken the habit of trying to walk the neighborhood during lunch.  Over the years we have gotten to know many of the neighbors.  Some of them have apple trees, which we have poached from during our walks. Last Fall, one of the neighbors offered his bounty, telling us that he picks up and composts about 5G of apples everyday from his trees.  Lawn apples would be a more appropriate term.  I asked him if he would consider putting the apples out in his driveway, and I would take them to the barn to feed as treats to the horses.  Did that for a few weeks, then I picked up from Mom’s basement, an antique fruit crusher and fruit press.  Then It got serious.  Went to the neighbors and grabbed 7 buckets of lawn apples and made 5 G of cider that evening.  The cider was particularly dry. puckeringly so. I had used a chardonnay yeast.  Backsweetened with a little sugar, added some tart dark cherry juice, called it Grandma’s Old Fashioned Cherry Apple Pie Cider, and won first place in a local competition. Not a big deal, only a few entries, so my odds of winning were Very High. 

    • #16
  17. Locke On Member
    Locke On
    @LockeOn

    We inherited two backyard apple trees when we bought our place, a Golden Delicious and what’s likely a Jonathan.  Not intended as cider apples, but they ferment fine!  Neither has ever been pruned properly, so I can’t reach the upper part to spray, and they oscillate wildly from year to year in both yield and quality of fruit.  So we get what we get, and after extracting a tithe for the year’s batch of applesauce, they get shredded for pressing.  I started with a home-made ‘scratter’ hacked up from a couple of old 3d printer filament spools, but last year we broke down and bought a commercial shredder.  The press is still homebrew, nested 5 gal buckets, a frame of Simpson bracket reinforced 2 x 12s and a big lead screw I found on Amazon.  Powered by my biggest torque wrench.

    Hmmm, that cherry cider gives me an idea – I wonder how our raspberries would agree with our new off-dry cider?  A little dry hop on top, could be a thing of beauty….

    • #17
  18. Locke On Member
    Locke On
    @LockeOn

    Al French, sad sack (View Comment):

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    At home, I currently have the following homebrews on tap: A Belgian wit, A Belgian Dark Strong, a Robust Porter. And an apple cider from locally harvested road apples, hand crushed and pressed. I also keep sparkling water on tap – always. That is the only beverage I make that the Lovely Lady Gesa drinks. We go thru 5 g of wasser mit gas every four days or so.

    Road apples?

    My mother grew up in a time when horse drawn delivery carts were still common. “Road apples” were what horses left behind in the street. Her mother would send her out to collect them for garden fertilizer.

    I think I would have difficulty getting past that family history if someone offered me a beverage made of “road apples”.

    We have the same expression in our family and it probably came from the same source, since we have a picture of my mother as a teenager with some of her friends, catching a ride on a horse drawn delivery cart (early 1930s in Indiana).

    • #18
  19. Buckpasser Member
    Buckpasser
    @Buckpasser

    https://www.stonebrewing.com/visit/bistros/escondido

    • #19
  20. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    danok1 (View Comment):

    The worst beer I ever had was wonderful.

    Wish I could say the same but years ago I tried something called Simba from Africa. I bought it because the cans had pictures of animals on it.Truly terrible. That was probably the only one I ever poured into the sink. Normally I would at least finish the can and then say, “that wasn’t very good . . . but we can’t let it go to waste.”

    • #20
  21. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Locke On (View Comment):

    Al French, sad sack (View Comment):

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    At home, I currently have the following homebrews on tap: A Belgian wit, A Belgian Dark Strong, a Robust Porter. And an apple cider from locally harvested road apples, hand crushed and pressed. I also keep sparkling water on tap – always. That is the only beverage I make that the Lovely Lady Gesa drinks. We go thru 5 g of wasser mit gas every four days or so.

    Road apples?

    My mother grew up in a time when horse drawn delivery carts were still common. “Road apples” were what horses left behind in the street. Her mother would send her out to collect them for garden fertilizer.

    I think I would have difficulty getting past that family history if someone offered me a beverage made of “road apples”.

    We have the same expression in our family and it probably came from the same source, since we have a picture of my mother as a teenager with some of her friends, catching a ride on a horse drawn delivery cart (early 1930s in Indiana).

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    Al French, sad sack (View Comment):

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    At home, I currently have the following homebrews on tap: A Belgian wit, A Belgian Dark Strong, a Robust Porter. And an apple cider from locally harvested road apples, hand crushed and pressed. I also keep sparkling water on tap – always. That is the only beverage I make that the Lovely Lady Gesa drinks. We go thru 5 g of wasser mit gas every four days or so.

    Road apples?

    My mother grew up in a time when horse drawn delivery carts were still common. “Road apples” were what horses left behind in the street. Her mother would send her out to collect them for garden fertilizer.

    I think I would have difficulty getting past that family history if someone offered me a beverage made of “road apples”.

    Yes, perhaps road apples is not the proper term! In our very small office, we have taken the habit of trying to walk the neighborhood during lunch. Over the years we have gotten to know many of the neighbors. Some of them have apple trees, which we have poached from during our walks.

    A variant of the tried-and-true English schoolboy practice of “scrumping.”

    I do appreciate the explanation, as I was wondering how I would gracefully decline, should  you ever offer me a piece of “road apple pie” . . . 

    • #21
  22. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    danok1 (View Comment):

    The worst beer I ever had was wonderful.

    Wish I could say the same but years ago I tried something called Simba from Africa. I bought it because the cans had pictures of animals on it.Truly terrible. That was probably the only one I ever poured into the sink. Normally I would at least finish the can and then say, “that wasn’t very good . . . but we can’t let it go to waste.”

    Never heard of it.  Probably just as well.

    • #22
  23. danok1 Member
    danok1
    @danok1

    She (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    danok1 (View Comment):

    The worst beer I ever had was wonderful.

    Wish I could say the same but years ago I tried something called Simba from Africa. I bought it because the cans had pictures of animals on it.Truly terrible. That was probably the only one I ever poured into the sink. Normally I would at least finish the can and then say, “that wasn’t very good . . . but we can’t let it go to waste.”

    Never heard of it. Probably just as well.

    Same here. Will avoid it if I ever see it.

    • #23
  24. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    My parents had several grafted apple trees at the bottom of their garden.  It’s a practice that’s quite widespread in the UK but for some reason (don’t know what it is), I haven’t run into it much here, although Stark Bros seems to have stock available.

    Essentially, you splice two or more fruit trees together when young, and you end up with different varieties that you can pick from the same tree.

    image 0

    • #24
  25. Nanda "Chaps" Panjandrum Member
    Nanda "Chaps" Panjandrum
    @

    Root beer from our local brewpub (ginger beer isn’t something they currently brew) – and any strongly-flavored ginger beer my brother and sister-in-law bring my way…Beer, per se, belongs in a shandy, for my taste buds to be happy.  Many thanks for the post!

    • #25
  26. Locke On Member
    Locke On
    @LockeOn

    She (View Comment):

    My parents had several grafted apple trees at the bottom of their garden. It’s a practice that’s quite widespread in the UK but for some reason (don’t know what it is), I haven’t run into it much here, although Stark Bros seems to have stock available.

    Essentially, you splice two or more fruit trees together when young, and you end up with different varieties that you can pick from the same tree.

    image 0

    I have seen similar grafts grown as suburban lawn fruit trees in our area (SW Idaho), on dwarfing root stock. 

    And thanks for the link on ‘scrumping’ – I had wondered about the origin of ‘scrumpy’ for cider, which I had run into while trolling through cidering posts and videos, quite a few from the UK.

    • #26
  27. danok1 Member
    danok1
    @danok1

    I realized I never really answered She’s question!

    I generally prefer more malty beers: Marzen, Lagers, Irish Reds, Altbiers. I won’t turn down a California Common. I enjoy the occasional weissbier. Or an IPA, Or a New England IPA. Or saison. Or….

    • #27
  28. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member
    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw
    @MattBalzer

    She: What sort of beer floats your boat? 

    Free. If I’m buying, I usually get something in a case so I have some beer,because generally any beer is better than no beer. Other than that I’m basically in agreement with @skipsul. One of the local places had 14 out of 16 taps dedicated to IPAs which is ridiculous. The one I usually go to I don’t think had any for the first couple years I went there.

    • #28
  29. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member
    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw
    @MattBalzer

    She (View Comment):
    I gather that what some consider the “over-hopped” character of some of the IPAs was originally done to preserve them while they were shipped to the far-flung corners of the Empire in the days before refrigeration was widely available, as hops are a natural preservative.

    I have considered using this as an argument at some of the more lefty places I’ve been. “How can you drink IPAs? You’re supporting historical imperialism!”

    • #29
  30. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    I gather that what some consider the “over-hopped” character of some of the IPAs was originally done to preserve them while they were shipped to the far-flung corners of the Empire in the days before refrigeration was widely available, as hops are a natural preservative.

    I have considered using this as an argument at some of the more lefty places I’ve been. “How can you drink IPAs? You’re supporting historical imperialism!”

    Yes!  Stop them from asserting their IPA Privilege!!

    • #30

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